The 66th annual hospitality awards celebrate the world’s best hotels, spas, restaurants and ocean cruises.

Following the pandemic, travelers flocked to big, iconic destinations, like Paris, Rome and the Maldives. While those destinations will always have their allure, vacationers are now seeking out more meaningful trips where they can embark on once-in-a-lifetime experiences, like a safari. They also are booking trips to smaller metropolitan areas, cities rich with culture, gastronomy and activities but without the crowds.

Forbes Travel Guide’s 2024 Star Awards reflect these trending tastes among travelers. For the 66th annual list of the best hotels, restaurants, spas and ocean cruises, FTG explored destinations offering meaningful experiences as well as smaller U.S. cities that are often overlooked. The awards also expanded to new destinations, including Azerbaijan, Curacao, Iceland, Kenya, Sardinia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

FTG compiles its ratings using an objective, independent and data-driven process. Incognito inspectors pose as everyday guests and stay at hotels, board cruises, receive spa services and dine at fine restaurants around the world. They test some 900 exacting standards—such as whether a room is designed to promote sleep quality or whether the food-and-beverage choices support a guest’s well-being—emphasizing exceptional service, which accounts for 70 percent of a property’s rating. Newer standards focus on the guest experience, such as ensuring “cocktails are dynamically interesting and photogenic” and even asking if the inspector would “readily recommend this property to others.” The remaining 30 percent comes from the quality and condition of the facilities. Finally, inspectors are now required to reflect on whether there was great value in the experience.

See the complete list of 2024 Star Awards winners here, and learn more about the newest additions to the collection below.

Triple Five-Star Standouts

Several hotels joined the elite ranks of the triple Five-Stars, a group of 15 properties that earned the highest rating for three different outlets under its roof (typically, it’s a hotel, restaurant and spa that earn the Five Stars). The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is the first property in the Caribbean to attain triple Five-Star status. Sprawled across 144 acres along Seven Mile Beach, the resort earned the top rating along with its Blue by Eric Ripert, a seafood-focused restaurant from the celebrated chef, and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Grand Cayman, a 20,000-square-foot ultra-modern sanctuary.

Stateside, Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, garnered triple Five-Star recognition with Sense, A Rosewood Spa at Miramar Beach, which features treatments using extraordinary local plants and flowers, and Caruso’s, a Southern Italian fine-dining spot overlooking the ocean. An hour from Washington, D.C., Salamander Middleburg gives travelers a luxurious place to stay in Virginia’s horse and wine country, with Harrimans Grill (which serves seasonal Southern cuisine) and the state’s only Five-Star spa on its 340 pastoral acres.

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